Ok the hostel I am at today has free computers, so I can update the blog. I’m in Auckland now and this hostel is a bit funny because most of the people that stay here work here and live here long-term. In my opinion there are a huge amount of better places to live than in urban Auckland!!! Me no comprendo!!! Get me outta this hostel!!!!!!!
While I’ve been here I’ve stayed in hostels, campsites, private campsites, couches, huts, van, and probably more. I am very thankful that I found so many friendly people, friendly university clubs, friends of friends and friendly alpine clubs because I’ve been able to meet lots of locals but also lots of other travellers that are like me. And Lauren!
Anyway, since I worked at the door warehouse, I have been up to many things! Lets see how much I can remember…
I had about a week off before my next commitments, so I decided to fly up to Wellington and see where I could go from there. I didn’t have a set plan, but my wish list consisted of: visiting friends (Craig, Laura & Kevin), going to museums, hiking, rock climbing, sightseeing and staying in the sunshine. (Craig – met climbing in the summer, Laura – lived in my building in Fiji the first semester, Kevin – his twin brother John was there in my first semester in Fiji and he’s been on exchange in Wellington)
I landed bright and early in Wellington (flying is cheaper than going by car/boat/ferry by A LOT!) and spent that day hanging with Craig and some climbers from the Victoria University Tramping Club. It was a beautiful day and it was nice hanging out on the beach and climbing a bit. It was an adventure getting to the rocks because we had to cross a river/inlet, which was a lot more full than usual. Craig crossed up to neck-deep (haha!) and me up to my waist. We then found out there was a crossing that was only up to our shins further along. Ooops. There was an unfortunate pack-and-camera-getting-dipped-in-the-water incident (noooo) but the camera has meanwhile resurrected itself. WAHOO! This means I don’t have that many of my own photos for this post….
The rainy weather was incoming so I decided to go up to Tongariro the next day to do the crossing the next day. It is a VERY popular hike across an active volcano that every tourist seems to do. I ended up doing it with 3 German travellers which was fun. Unfortunately it was extremely rainy and cloudy so I didn’t see any of it!!!! Nooooo! But it was still worth it to walk up the valley with all the rocks and to see the aftermaths of the recent eruption (big craters from flying rocks and holes in the bunkbeds of one of the huts – glad I wasn’t staying there!). I recommend doing it, but on a sunny day because it really only turned into a 20km workout walk instead of a nice picturesque scenic hike.
So then I decided to head back to Wellington and did many things: visited the Museum of Wellington and Te Papa museum, visited Laura on the coast and had delicious fish tacos, had sushi (twice!), went climbing at the gym, met Kevin’s sister and brother-in-law (I now know their whole family practically!!) and had a night out with them, and took many-a-many trains. Kevin and I went to an AWESOME cocktail bar called Alice, where the drinks are all served in teapots and they serve you the drinks on a big platter with a doiley and a tea pot and cups and saucers. The bar was also at a funny height so you feel really high on one side and really small on the other. And to get to it, you go through another bar, through a door that says toilet and then through another door. SO COOL!
Then last weekend I took the ferry from Wellington to Picton which was very scenic and nice, and then did an actually quite lovely short walk in Picton (some of the best views I’ve seen in NZ even though it was only like 1.5 hours long!), spent the night in Blenheim (another bad hostel) and came back the next day. It was actually quite funny how I got on the ferry. I walked from Craig’s house to the ferry and asked when the next sailing was (didn’t matter to me) and they said “YOU CAN GET ON THE ONE RIGHT NOW!!! JUST JUMP IN THIS TRUCK!!”. Me: uhhh whaaat? Apparently they had already taken the gangway away but I could still get on the ferry by riding the luggage truck onto the bottom. Haha! I was not in that much of a rush, but fine by me! It reminded me a bit of the crazy adventures I ran into in Fiji.
This past week has been busy and lovely spending lots of time with Lauren and friends. Tuesday we went to the races in Christchurch and we dressed up and had a big champagne breakfast. That was lots of fun spending so much time with Natalie and Hugh. Yesterday I did a (sadly short) day of data entry (I type too fast), but when I got home my coworker Jen from EY called me and said “THE WIND IS RIGHT FOR PARAGLIDING, COME ALONG!!!!” Naturally, Lauren and I jumped in the van and drove there and her partner Simon took us out. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a cool hobby/sport!! We had been trying to go with them for a while but the wind has not been right. I would like to take lessons in the near future. AMAZING!!!!
On Thursday I met up with some work friends during the day and then a small gathering with some friends at the best restaurant in Christchurch (Mangdu, a Korean restaurant yummm) and went out for drinks. And then today I flew up to Auckland and that’s where I am. I am leaving to volunteer tomorrow for 5 days and then Lauren is flying up and we rented a car to go to either Northland or Cormandel. Still to be decided. And then, HAWAII!!!!!
Oh yeah, I also registered for classes for next semester and got into all of the ones I wanted. Yay!